Zimbabwe news

Zimbabwe set for busy home season

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 24, 2011

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Steven Smith bowls in the nets as Usman Khawaja looks on, Melbourne, December 25, 2010
Steven Smith and Usman Khawaja have both been included in a strong provisional Australia A squad to tour Zimbabwe this year © Getty Images
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Zimbabwe Cricket have confirmed that Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand will be touring the country in the course of a busy schedule in 2011 that includes both one-day internationals and Test matches, as well as a triangular series including South Africa and an Australian A side.

"The Zimbabwe Cricket team is scheduled to have a busy schedule in 2011-2012 season commencing in August," ZC managing director Ozias Bvute told News Day in Zimbabwe. "Tours have been confirmed with Bangladesh, Pakistan, New Zealand and a triangular series against South Africa and Australian 'A' sides."

Bvute admitted frustration at Zimbabwe's performance at the World Cup, where the team thrashed Canada and Kenya but struggled to be competitive against the top sides. He suggested that more matches against strong teams was the key to Zimbabwe's development.

"There is a lot of disappointment after our inability to progress to the quarter-finals at the World Cup, however, given the schedule of matches lined up over the next four years we feel this should adequately prepare our team for the next World Cup."

Zimbabwe's home season begins with Bangladesh's visit between July 1 and July 22. The two teams have been regular opponents in recent years, having played 18 ODIs against each other since January 2009, with Bangladesh winning 13 of those games. Zimbabwe will play a one-off Test match and four ODIs against them before Australia A arrive for a one-day tri-series also involving Zimbabwe and South Africa, and two four-day matches against the host. Match details are yet to be confirmed at this stage, but the tour will run from late June to late July.

Pakistan then visit for another Test match, three ODIs and two Twenty20 matches from July 26 to August 19. New Zealand, who sent an A side to Zimbabwe for an unofficial Test series against Zimbabwe A last year, have not yet finalised dates for their tour.

Understandably, the squads for visiting international sides are yet to be named, but Cricket Australia's National Selection Panel has announced a provisional 24-man squad which will be trimmed in May.

"We have given the provisional squad advanced notice for this tour to allow them sufficient time to prepare for the series pending selection in the final squad," said National Talent Manager Greg Chappell. "The Australia A program in recent years has played a big role in readying athletes for the rigors of international cricket, with players such as Tim Paine, Callum Ferguson, Cameron White and Mitchell Starc all coming into the Australian set-up at varying times over the last couple of years and having an impact.

"This group is a cross section of the best young players in the country. Some of them have already had a taste of international cricket and show signs of being among those that will be the backbone of our teams in the future, while the others have shown enough in domestic cricket to suggest that they are the type of cricketer that we will need to be able to challenge India, South Africa, England and Sri Lanka for supremacy in the next few years.

"With the new World Test Championship and the new ODI ranking periods beginning straight after the ICC Cricket World Cup and with tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa later this year and New Zealand and India touring Australia next summer, it will be a great opportunity for these young players to show their skills and put their name forward to be part of this challenging period for Australian cricket," added Chappell.

The last time an Australian representative team visited Zimbabwe was in 2008, when a Centre of Excellence Scholarship team toured Africa.

Provisional Australia A squad: George Bailey, Michael Beer, Luke Butterworth, Trent Copeland, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Callum Ferguson, Aaron Finch, Peter George, Jon Holland, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Nicolas Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Stephen O'Keefe, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (March 27, 2011, 16:21 GMT)

i wish i ere able to be there for that very first test with bangladesh now we are back in the game fellaz lets make it worthwhile

Posted by luvgee on (March 25, 2011, 17:49 GMT)

good move 2 ve competitive cricket 4 zim.use this opp 2 e max

Posted by Caino94 on (March 25, 2011, 14:29 GMT)

Zimbabwe Test Side: 1. Taylor 2. Masakadza 3. Coventry 4. Chakabva 5. Ervine 6. Chigumbura (c) 7. Taibu (wk) 8. Utseya 9. Mpofu 10. Mutizwa 11. Price

Posted by QTS_ on (March 25, 2011, 13:33 GMT)

@GooglyfromKumbleEnglishmenCrumble: Is that the Nick Compton of England, grandson of the great Dennis?

Posted by zimbos_05 on (March 25, 2011, 7:04 GMT)

Great news for Zim cricket. How the Bangladesh and Australia/South Africa tours will intertwine is interesting. Hopefully Sean Ervine can make it back for the team and the selectors look at a much broader selection rather than the same old players. Id like to see Ballance, Raza and Compton being given a chance. Williams, Rodgers, Ireland, Jarvis, Taibu, Sibanda, Ervines and Coventry should be the core of the squad. Mpofu showed some good class in the world cup and would like to see him play too. Hopefully these seres get some coverage on the TV, would love to see them live especially the tri series with South Africa and Australia A

Posted by ather_aziz on (March 24, 2011, 23:52 GMT)

glad to see pakistan play at a series in zimbabwe its been a long time since we visited the country :)

Posted by wgtnpom on (March 24, 2011, 20:25 GMT)

THis is encouragiung and ups for Bang Pak and NZ for leading the way in returning to Zim. I think Zim will struggle against all these teams this year but will improve in the next few years to be at least as competitive as they were in the late 90s. Good luck to them. Hopefully their administration is not going to be interfered with at a political level.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (March 24, 2011, 15:55 GMT)

@GooglyfromKumbleEnglishmenCrumble . Agree with you 100%. Names missing Travis Friend and Doug Marillier. Zim needs to work out with these player.If Zim comes out with these team ,it will be a very competitive.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (March 24, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

PONTING HAS RISEN! Pity we might not get a chance to see this masterclass bat in Zim again. Couldn't agree with you more GooglyfromKumble. However, I feel Butt is not as good as Ballance, and I doubt Compton will go through with it. In any case I don't want us to mimmick Eng's 'strategy'! Now imagine this X1 with left-right hand combinations & batting all the way up to 9: Taylor, Duffin, Hamilton, Williams, Sibanda, Craig Ervine, Sean Ervine, Taibu-wk(c), de Grandhomme, Ireland, Price. Backup: Jarvis, Mpofu, Ballance, Ewing & Malcom Waller. Utseya is not a wicket taker, Cremer is easy pickings, Ewing is a better batsman than Lamb & is a leader. Jarvis is in for the future plus he's quick. I would pick Meth ahead of Nicholson, Chatara, Shingi, Mupariwa&Ncube. Bring on Aus/SA! (Eng&Ind are temporary) - Ire&Bang can forget.

Posted by tfjones1978 on (March 24, 2011, 13:21 GMT)

Whilst I would pref if Aust sent a full squad it is good to see some "elite" countries sending squads to help the "minnows" play against competitive teams.

That said, the Associates like Ireland (whom is same rank as Zimb) has been getting few series against the big guys (although thanks to Srilanka for them touring Scotland).

I would like to see the following: (1) Goodwill tour: All full members sending a squad to play each of the affiliate countries and bottom 30 associate teams for fun exibition T20 matches. Whilst 80 teams over 5 years (15 per year) sounds like a lot, if they send more then one "A" team and have these just before their domestic comp then they could be warm up series. (2) Associate challange: A 20 team competition between top 10 associate teams and 10 "A" team full members in Test A, ODI & T20 playing home & away over 5 years in 2 groups (18 series of 2TA,3O,2TA). The full members could host in non-capital areas (eg: Newcastle in Aust) & assoc can pull crowds.

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